Merchant Innovation

Boston’s Bridj Wants Self-Driving Robots To Deliver Goods

Bridj — a Boston-based transportation startup that acts like an Uber for bus rides and currently serves the Boston, Washington, D.C., and Kansas City areas, now wants to launch a package delivery service that would use self-driving droids to transport packages to a customer’s front door, according to The Boston Globe.

Bridj has thousands of riders in the Greater Boston area. Users use a smartphone app to summon a ride from one of the company’s fleet of 14-seat buses, but Bridj buses don’t follow a planned route and instead use software to devise routes on the go based on where customers are requesting rides and where they want to go. A Bridj ride costs about $4.25.

But with the company’s planned BridjBOX service, those same buses would also hold packages alongside passengers, and the company’s routing software would be used in much the same way to plan delivery routes on the fly. Drivers would leave the packages in storage lockers around the city.

“Through BridjBOX, we’ll be able to seamlessly and autonomously deliver goods alongside people, thus allowing one vehicle to do the job of five,” Bridj Cofounder and CEO Matthew George told The Boston Globe.

Things get interesting in this proposal, however, because George said he wants to use delivery robots to access the lockers and then deliver the packages on the streets of Boston. The robots — which George declined to discuss in detail with the Globe due to nondisclosure agreements with the manufacturers — would travel at a speed of about three miles an hour and would not be able to climb stairs or open doors, instead dropping the package at a customer’s door and rolling away.

George told the Globe he hopes to have the delivery service up and running by the end of the year.

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